June 22, 2018
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Palmyra man indicted in Detroit man’s death

Alex Barber | BDN
Alex Barber | BDN
Jason Cote of Palmyra sits in Somerset County Superior Court on Friday for his initial appearance after being charged with murder in connection with the death of Ricky Cole of Detroit.
By Alex Barber, BDN Staff

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Palmyra man accused of killing a Detroit man in July was indicted by a Somerset County grand jury on Friday, according to Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Criminal Division William Stokes.

Jason Cote, 22, is charged with murder in connection with the death of Ricky Cole, 47, who was found dead in his Main Street home in Detroit on the morning of July 18.

Cote will appear in front of a judge on the indictment, but Stokes said he did not know when that would be. Cote was not asked to make a plea on the Class A charge during his initial appearance in Somerset County Superior Court on July 26.

An autopsy revealed that Cole suffered multiple blunt-force impact trauma and extensive blood loss, according to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Bryant Jacques. Maine Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum “observed deep internal injuries, including a fractured skull,” according to the affidavit. Cote allegedly used a pipe to hit Cole.

Blood evidence taken from Cote’s shorts matched that of Cole’s, according to the affidavit.

David Lafleur, a Palmyra resident who initially called police and asked them to check Cole’s home at approximately 3 a.m. July 18, told investigators that Cote was at Lafleur’s house in the early morning hours that day. Lafleur’s girlfriend told him she was concerned that Cote had done something to Cole, because Cote told her he had hit Cole with a pipe.

Lafleur told police that he drove Cote to Cole’s residence so Cote could get more Xanax, according to the affidavit.

Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug.

Lafleur said he watched Cote go into Cole’s home. Lafleur told police he then left without Cote, but intended to meet him later at Cote’s Hurd’s Corner Road residence to get high.

After Lafleur picked Cote up down the street from Cole’s residence, Lafleur said “Jason got in the back of his Jeep and was real sweaty. Jason then told him something to the effect that he did something ‘[messed] up and can’t talk about it.'”

Underneath a plastic skirting of a vacant trailer on Hurd’s Corner Road, approximately 100 feet from Cote’s residence, state police reportedly found a pair of camouflage shorts with tan belt, blue T-shirt, black-and-white sneakers and white Nike socks. There were red and brown stains on those items.

The items were sent to the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory in Augusta where Forensic Analyst Christine Waterhouse analyzed the items on July 20 and found DNA in the bloodstains on Cote’s clothing that matched the dead man’s DNA.

“A thirteen locus DNA profile from the cutting of the human blood stain matched the thirteen point locus DNA profile obtained from the known blood standard taken at the autopsy from Ricky Cole,” read the affidavit.

Cote had recent lacerations and abrasions on the forearm, back, leg and face when police interviewed him on July 18, according to the court document, but he denied being in a fight with anyone and maintained he hadn’t been in a fight in years.

Cote was arrested by police on July 24 and taken to Somerset County Jail in Madison, where he remains. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

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